Quintet15… From Voxativ AC-1.6 to Horn1…

In the previous post Mr. Matt Wilkins describes with details how after spending a year plus with Quintet15 Horn1 he swapped the center driver to Voxativ AC-1.6 and felt this was just the right move for him. He even went one step further and  purchased the Field Coil AC-X. Read all here:  Quintet15… Bi-Amping… From Horn1 to Voxativ AC-X… Journey not yet Completed…

It goes without saying how happy Matt is with Quintet15 w/ Voxativ, but just at about the same time, on the other side of the planet, in Sidney Australia, Mr. Ganesh Ganeshalingam, a happy Quintet15 owner with Voxativ AC-1.6 decided to try the Horn1.

Items shipped, break in was completed and here is Ganesh’s feedback that is pointing 180degrees from Matt’s one…

So who was right and who was wrong? Is Quintet15 Horn1 better than the Quintet15 Voxativ or vice versa?

As you can read below, the answer is ‘both are right’ or ‘no one is wrong’ !

Both configuration are extremely musical and enjoyable but at the same time they do differ. The answer therefore will depend on whom do you ask, and indeed, personal preference is very personal and these two posts confirm this statement!

Enjoy the reading !


On Dec. 02, 2020 we have received the following Feedback:

Hi Ze’ev,

Excellent speaker (Quintet15 w/ Voxativ AC-1.6), well done ? exceeded my expectations, thank you.

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Can you please add the message to Customers and Fans group please. I am enjoying your creation now.
May I please have quote for horn? I like to have both and swap between them to keep me thrilled ?
Thank you ?
Bye the way I have disconnected my sub, it was a big relief for me too.
Thank You ?

The Horn1 was purchased on August 2021 and on October the 7th we received the following review:

What makes me qualified to write a review may you ask, I have been an audiophile since the day I knew how to operate a radio, I grew up in times the glory of vacuum tubes was coming to an end, and the transistors were taking over. I was fortunate to hear my dad’s record player and tube amplifier (Rogers cadet III) proudly made in UK. The amplifier was only rated 11 watts RMS and speakers were very similar to today’s Klipsch Cornwall IV, I can’t remember exactly, because I was too young and many moons has passed since then. The record player was quickly replaced by cassette players. Then came the revolution of the CD, and now streaming.

I have enjoyed countless HiFi components and many different speakers like Wilson Audio Watt Puppy 7.0, that stands out like an Everest, a bench mark for all the speaker manufactures to aspire too. I have been on the hunt for speakers for a long time to replace my aging Wilson Watt Puppy, and I was becoming tired of auditions and review’s. During the hunt to replace my Wilson I remembered auditioning Jamo R909 back in 2008. The sound stage was big, lively and you felt like you are at the location right in front of the band. 

But unfortunately, Jamo does not make open baffle speakers now, and I wanted something new. So why I did not purchase the Jamo R909 back then? Like all of us I was very convinced by the theories of how sound wave travels and how it cancels at certain points if the waves from the front and the waves from the rear meet, creating dead spots and so on and on. This created a negative impression abut open baffle speakers in my mind and I thought they are inferior to traditional speakers.

Till I saw the review by Steve Guttenberg on Pure Audio Project Trio15 Classic, he mentioned about the 15-inch drives and open baffle sound stage. This brought back memories of my dad’s 15-inch speakers and audition of the Jamo R909. Looking at the Pure Audio Project Quintet 15, I was impressed, and started to read all the reviews I could find. Finally, I contacted Ze’ev, the creator, a man very humble but with a vast knowledge of open baffle speakers.

My initial order was for Quintet15 with Voxativ AC 1.6, the speaker was impressive and the build quality was second to none. The sound stage was wider and deeper (3D Sound Stage)than the Watt Puppy. The highs were smooth and natural compared to Watt Puppy, the Watts Puppy’s high was shrieking and made you fatigued after few hours of listening, due to the use of titanium tweeters.

The mid of the Quintet15 was very pleasant and natural, and represented natural human voice, when compared to Watt, I found the Watt’s mid to be a bit shouty and in your face. This does not mean that the Quintet15 mid is rolled-off. 

What about the bass you might ask me? The Watts are hard to beat in this department, that does not mean that the Quintet 15 is lacking in bass. The bass of the Quintet15 more natural and precise, but I personally would like to have more of this, so I have added a subwoofer to complement the bass. 

Now all of you would ask me all that s fine but what about the Quitet15 Horn1? I say to you remember what I said in relation to the sound stage between Quintet15 Vox and the Watt, now take that image and double it, and you are not even close to the sound stage that Horn1 produces. It’s like clearing the wax from your ears. 

The biggest improvement in sound stage and sound quality for the money is purchasing the Quintet15 and second biggest improvement is upgrading to Horn1, and the third biggest improvement is moving to tube amplifiers. Take it from me, give Horn1 a try and you will never regret it. Quintet15 Horn1 is my new reference, and my only advise to all audiophiles out there please give the open baffle speakers a try. Like the famous quote “if you never venture out, you will not know what you have missed out”, as far as traditional speakers go, they are obsolete like the fuel car. Take the Quintet15 Horn1 for a spin and I bet you will want more of it. Plese do not forget the key to enjoying to music is a good reproduction of 3D sound by your speakers. This 3D sound image is very well achived by Quintet15 Horn1, qudos to Ze’ev.

Ganesh Ganeshalingam from Sydney, Australia.

The associated electronics also play a role, so I have listed the components below:

Source: Ayon CD 5s, Dell Laptop (used as streamer via USB), Denafrips Avatar CD transport and Yamaha CD – S2100.

DAC: Ayon CD 5s, Denafrips Terminator 2.

Preamp: Terminator Athena.

Power Amplifier: Rogue Audio M180 mono blocks (KT120), and Willsenton R800i (805).

NB: Please excuse the mess that you see in the photos, and audiophiles work is never done, it always evolving or may I say continus work in progress. Building new Hi Fi shelves, and sound panels.

Quintet15… Bi-Amping… From Horn1 to Voxativ AC-X

Here is an in-depth review coming from a true music lover who also is proved to be an ‘audio-adventurer’, Mr. Matt Wilkins from North Carolina, USA.

With a clear goal, a set of expectations and a vision of the path, Matt took the journey and overcame a few critical bumps to his full satisfaction.

Once reading the review you will probably notice that despite Matt’s closing statement his journey is not yet fully completed… so yes… enjoy the reading and stay tuned !

“Some consider the pursuit of an ideal to be all about the journey itself. I’m not so sure this is the case in high-end audio, but it may be for some. It isn’t for me, although parts of the journey can indeed be rewarding and enjoyable.

My journey to the sonic ideal was at times pleasurable, but for the most part, frustrating. I had wanted to pursue the active bi-amping + open baffle route after the late great Peter Aczel touted the combination’s superiority over box speakers (or “monkey coffins” as Peter liked to call them) and passive crossovers. Peter Aczel was good friends with Siegfried Linkwitz (also RIP) and his Orion speakers, as well as the subsequent incarnation of his humble genius, the LX521. These were open-baffle, dipole designs, driven by multiple amplifiers through an active crossover. Linkwitz would show up at many audio expositions with the Orion/LX521, powered by budget amplifiers like ATI or Emotiva, and their room would draw accolades from even the most hard-nosed critics in the business. As chief editor of the (now defunct) Audio Critic magazine, Aczel was convinced that open-baffle was, and always would be, better at producing a realistic sound picture, and he at one point announced that he was finished reviewing box speakers, save for very few models such as those from Legacy Audio.

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I don’t know if Peter Aczel was familiar with Pure Audio Project (he died in 2017), but I believe he would have championed their design approach and aesthetic. I also believe he would have happily included Ze’ev Schlik in The Audio Critic’s vaunted “White Hat” category of audio personalities.
At one point, I had planned to purchase and assemble a pair of LX521’s from the Linkwitz store, but they were a bit pricey, so I searched the ‘net for an alternative. I was satisfied with my current PSB Stratus Gold i’s, though I could not shake the impression that something was missing; I knew my system could be improved. I then discovered Pure Audio Project and went the PAP route because I wanted to go big. Real big. Though my listening space is currently medium-sized at best, I wanted to plan for the future, so I went with the Quintet15Horn1 model. While waiting on delivery, I ordered an active crossover from Marchand Electronics. Why I did not go with PAP’s Nelson Pass C-1 active crossover, I’m not entirely certain, but it probably had something to do with cost. It was a decision I would later lament, and you’ll soon see why.
Parts began to arrive and I eagerly assembled the Quintets. I thought the horn driver was beautiful, and I was getting excited. At last they were complete. I began listening. I’m going to be honest here: I was not blown away. In fact, I was disappointed. The horns were bright and shouty, but I knew I could tame them with some judicious tweaking of the crossover. While the eight woofers were being powered by two massive Emotiva monoblocks, the horns were driven by a Schiit Aegir (Class-A…ish) at 25wpc. But making changes via the crossover was an exercise in futility; nothing seemed to improve the sound. I was assured by Ze’ev and other PAP owners that the horns (and woofers to a lesser degree) needed not less than 150-200 hours of break-in time, so I let music play as often as was feasible. Soon the horns began to relax and the previously absent lower midrange started to emerge a little, but something else was happening. As the horns slowly opened up, I made corresponding adjustments to the crossover, and soon discovered that the Aegir was poorly matched with the big monoblocks. The Aegir was running in stereo mode and had reached the limit of its output. I needed a different amp if I wanted to take full advantage of the monoblocks and have enough power for the horns to match the woofers. I bought a used Acurus A-150 solid state amp (super inexpensive) to replace the Aegir, which I sold. Now, 150 watts per channel was overkill for the horns, so I attenuated the gain by inserting a passive pre between the crossover and the Acurus. Could I have made adjustments solely on the crossover instead? Yes, but my artist’s demand for symmetry wanted the crossover’s knobs all to be at 12:00! OCD? Perhaps.
The sound continued to blossom, but the lower mids were still not fully present. I attributed this to not enough break-in time, although I was concerned that something else was amiss. I made numerous changes to speaker placement, listening position, room treatment, etc. with only minimal improvements. As I neared the 300-hour point of playback, there remained a nagging sense that it just wasn’t right. I voiced my concerns to Ze’ev, who asked to see the specs of the Marchand crossover. In the meantime, I had auditioned, then borrowed a pair of Voxativ AC 1.6 full range drivers. I liked the difference immediately; more midrange presence was the first thing I noticed, so I thought these drivers are simply better than the horns. Maybe I’m just not a fan of compression drivers? Ze’ev pointed out that my particular crossover model had a steep 24dB per octave slope, which would have the effect of an undesirable woofer-horn integration, and could very well be the sonic bottleneck in my system. This is the precise moment I regretted the Marchand purchase.
However, I was so pleased with the Voxativs, I decided to explore their potential even more. I took a leap and ordered the AC-X field coil drivers (yes, a considerable step up from the 1.6’s), as well as the PAP C-1 analog active crossover, designed by Nelson Pass.
At long last, here I am. The system is now in full bloom. I no longer grind my teeth as I listen, as I did before when the musical presentation was lacking (and bank account shrinking). The elusive lower midrange has arrived, probably thanks to the wonderful Vovativs and the far more synergistic PAP C-1 crossover (with its 12dB slope). There is also a more palpable depth to the soundstage, bass is forthright but not overpowering, and the treble is sweet and without a hint of sibilance. I feel like I have a brand new system and I get the added pleasure of re-listening to all the favorites in my library, whether jazz on vinyl, electronica on CD, or eclectic and world music courtesy of the wonderful radioparadise.com.
I made some less-than-intelligent decisions when putting this iteration of my system together, most likely in the service of saving money. Nothing wrong with saving money, but I have learned that there is a right way and a wrong way to do that. The Quintet15’s were an intelligent decision, and Pure Audio Project’s customer service is unequaled in terms of personability, genuine concern for customer satisfaction, and timeliness. After replacing the crossover, I now look forward to trying the horns again, as they have a solid reputation and deserve a second chance. I have also replaced the Acurus with a NuPrime ST-10 Class-D amplifier for the full range drivers, which I feel is another story altogether. Suffice it to say, Class-D is becoming a serious topology, and one that will likely supplant hot and bulky A and A/B amps in the years ahead. I can hear the groans of disapproval now.
That brings me to the present. Have I acquired my “end game” setup? Only inasmuch as any audiophile has, as we all know this endeavor rarely actually ends. Right now, however, this particular journey has come to a close. There will probably be more (new phono cartridge on the horizon?), but Pure Audio Project will remain a fixture, and any additions or improvements will be in the way of details.”
Matt Wilkins, NC, USA

Here are some photos of the music Matt kindly shared:


Analog Sound™ and PureAudioProject

While Line Magnetic is using PureAudioProject speakers since 2015 at their premises in Zhuhai and at shows in China, it was in June 2019 that ‘Analog Sound™’, a sister company of Line Magnetic from Foshan, invited us to participate at two shows with them and to bring along two of our speakers sets, the Trio15 and the Quintet10. Analog Sound™ is a very unique company, offering amps that pay tribute to Western Electric and are designed to highest and most updated sonic grade.

The trigger for the invitation was an after-hours listening session at our showroom in Dalian, where we had our Trio15 with Voxativ AC-X (Field Coil) and our Quintet10 with Voxativ AC-1.6. Mr. Qian from Analog Sound™ brought their AS125 Integrated Tube Amp, with 211 output tubes. The 50kg amp was placed on a small hotel table, cables were connected, and play was pressed on the ‘The Fateful Moment’ from ‘Three Kingdoms’, an album by Rhymoi Music. Chinese trumpets and drums made their opening and all who were in the room, including myself, simply froze…

I don’t remember myself being so surprised by what I heard. Sonic mass was unprecedented. Trumpets sounded full body like never before on our speakers. Music felt so natural and realistic that we all stood there… music kept playing… while we were simply left speechless!

“We have two audio shows coming in Beijing, in June and in October” said, Mr. Qian, “would you like to join us?”…

Well… the match between the AS125 and our Trio15 was so good that I didn’t have to think twice. “YES ! We would love to do that !” was our immediate reply.

The first show was two weeks ahead so speakers were packed and instead of being shipped to our warehouse they were sent to the show in Beijing.

These were not only Analog Sound™ and us who enjoyed the match between  the AS125 and PureAudioProject speakers. Quite few customers use this combination to their full satisfaction and here are few photos.

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Ze’ev (Wolf) Schlik